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Hi, I’m Kevin Coupe and this is FaceTime with The Content Guy.

True leadership often is a combination of vision and experience, of tangible and intangible qualities. There are different kinds of leaders, and different kinds of leadership. But a true leader is someone you’d follow anywhere...even into the valley of death, as it were.

Not too long ago, Michael Sansolo waxed rhapsodic here about the leadership qualities of “Sully” Sullenberger, the airline captain who landed his crippled airplane in the Hudson River and got everybody off without a single casualty. We see and hear a guy like Sullenberger, and we want to be like him. We want to follow his lead.

But sometimes, when thinking about the qualities that go into a great leader, we have to take it from the other perspective. What kind of leader would we not want to be like?

In this vein, I submit for your consideration the name Francesco Schettino - the captain of the Costa Concordia, the Italian cruise ship that ran aground last Friday. This guy is no Sully Sullenberger. He’s not even Edward Smith - the captain of the Titanic. Smith may have hit an iceberg, but he went down with his ship. He knew that this was his responsibility.

Not Francesco.

What do we know about him at this point?

The reports are that the only reason the ship ran aground was because he screwed up - he may even have been showing off.

We know that he abandoned the ship while there were still 300 passengers on board. Now he says that he “fell into a lifeboat” and couldn’t get back on the ship, but is there anyone who believes that?

We know that no matter how much the Coast Guard pleaded with him to get back on the ship, he refused. It’s dark there, he said. You can;t see anything.

There are even reports that when he grabbed a taxi to a local hotel, he asked the driver where he could buy dry socks.

This guy has been arrested already for negligence, and apparently he can be prosecuted under all sorts of Italian and international statutes.

I think we can agree that there are fewer better examples lately of a complete and utter lack of leadership. Negligence doesn’t even seem to begin to cover it.

At the end of the day, no matter what your leadership position, it really is all about responsibility. You’re in charge. You get the applause when things go well, and you go down with the ship when things go badly.

In this context, Francesco Schettino is like to be a case study in how not to lead...not to mention being the punch line for a lot of jokes.

I would, however, like to suggest that Schettino may not be the anomaly that we’d like to think he is.

After all, how many bankers and investment experts made money when the economy tanked, because they hedged their bets even against the clients to whom they were making recommendations? And how many CEOs walk away with multi-million dollar compensation packages even after they’ve completely screwed up a company?

Maybe there are a lot more people like Francesco Schettino out there than we’d like to believe.

If so, that’s not a punch line. It’s just very, very sad.

That’s what is on my mind this Thursday morning. As always, I’d like to know what is on your mind.

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